Previous PageTable Of ContentsNext Page

II. Analysis if the past, present and foreseeable trend of woodfuels, its supply, demand, consumption and trade in the context of local sub-national and national level.

Wood Energy used to constitute a major source in Seychelles before the 1980. In the past, woodfuel consumption was a major contributor to total wood removal. Woodfuel use was a major local and environmental issue in Seychelles. Forestry was historically an important activity in Seychelles especially where wood fuelwood was used to supply numerous cinnamon and copra distilleries in 1938. In 1938, there were a total of 50 distilleries on the island and 3, 500 stacked cubic feet of fuelwood were being used daily in the distilleries.

In 1977, the Seychelles Government planned to produce charcoal on a large scale for domestic use and possibly for export. Results obtained from the census showed the very high usage of wood for cooking, particularly on Praslin, La Digue and Silhouette. Even on Mahe, only 12% of the population use electricity for cooking, while 45% use wood and 3% use charcoal for cooking.

Modern forestry practices were established in the 1950s by the colonial government. In 1993, a Forestry Plan was drafted under an Environmental Management Plan for a Seychelles project and for the first time, identified biodiversity priorities for forestry.

At this time charcoal was more expensive than wood and people could not afford to buy it and wood was preferably.

Before 1977, 25 kg of charcoal was imported from South Africa annually. The importation ceased once Seychelles started producing enough charcoal from the timber in the forest to meet the local demand. A point in time was reached when the local market was saturated with charcoal and the possibility for exporting the excess was sought in the Middle East.

In the past timber was widely used for fuel mainly for cooking and heating water. However, the production and used of charcoal are still used for such domestic activities but on a very small scale by the older citizens.

The sawmill is continuously receiving difficulties in selling its charcoal output because the demand is no longer that high and most hotels and restaurants produce their own charcoal for their consumption.

Exploitation of all commercial, endemic and indigenous trees listed under the "Breadfruit and other Trees Act of 1917". This act regulates the cutting and felling of 30 tree species. The regulating of trees under the act is controlled by a system of licenses issued by the Seychelles Licensing Authority and tree-felling permits for each tree to be cut or lopped is issued by the Forestry Section. The Forestry Section within the Division of Environment is the body responsible for Forestry matter in Seychelles and it has the mandate to issue tree-felling permit.

The control is labour intensive, involving a site visit by the Timber Control Unit for each size tree to be felled. Size limits are set according to species and site quality.

The same procedures mentioned above apply if someone wants to fell a tree for making charcoal.

A new legislation "Flora Legislation" will replace the "Bread Fruit and Other Trees Act". The activities regarding tree felling for building construction charcoal making and agriculture will have to follow stricter guidelines.

The Government of Seychelles is in the process of amending the "Lighting of Fires" (Restriction Act), which stipulates that any person who lights a fire in any forest, plantations and field for the purpose of burning it or burning charcoal kiln should have a written permission. With this act, many charcoal makers feel that the act is becoming too complex for practising compared to the old days because:

1. Nowadays they have to abide to guidelines and norms.

2. They have to be in possession of a burning permit

3. The raw materials for making charcoal are becoming scarce, as the producers have to go deeper into the forest to get the wood.

4. With the increasing in population and housing density, the making of charcoal is being seen as a nuisance to many people because of the smoke.

In August 1998, the Government launched a campaign for the public to switch from using kerosene to Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) cooking fuel. The reasons for this switch have several advantages of using gas instead of kerosene. The LPG gas is safer to use, cleaner and healthier and therefore more environmentally friendly.

The national emphasis is being placed on biodiversity, ecotourism, sustainable management and sustainable exploitation of Seychelles natural resources for the next ten decades and beyond.

Other management priorities have been identified and these are:

-Implementation of the management of the protected areas (National Parks),

-Provision of better protection systems to cope with disease, fires and invasive plants in the forests

-Develop and implement guidelines for sustainable forest management and ensure that forestry resources are properly valued using the latest technique.


Previous PageTop Of PageNext Page